Spain points finger at Germany, France for sovereign debt crisis

Economy minister says that countries and speculators should take part of the blame for run on Spanish debt

Political fault lines are starting to surface in the euro zone to accompany the financial turmoil in the single-currency bloc as Spanish Economy Minister Elena Salgado on Tuesday claimed France and Germany, along with speculators, should take some of the blame for the renewed run on Spain's sovereign debt.

Salgado pinpointed the European powerhouses' insistence on making bondholders take some of the pain for future bailouts in the system as one cause of the "uncertainty" that yesterday drove the spread between the German bund and the Spanish equivalent close to 300 basis points for the first-ever time since Spain joined the euro.

The secretary of state for the economy, José Manuel Campa, argued it was unproductive to focus too much on short-term fluctuations in the market, and insisted the key lay in implementing policies that inspire confidence. "What's important is to focus on measures which can improve fundamentals," he said.

One of those "fundamentals" is the overhaul of the state pension system, and Labor Minister Valeriano Gómez on Tuesday reiterated the government plans to push through reform at the start of next year.

"I want to reiterate, given the expectations raised by the issue, that the government considers this reform unavoidable; that it is a reform that cannot be put off given the size of the demographic challenge facing our social security system," Gómez said.

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